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City of Vancouver, FortisBC working together to tackle climate change

November 24, 2017
Deal promotes collaboration to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve efficiency while continuing to provide residents and businesses access to natural gas

FortisBC and the City of Vancouver announced today that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to team up on climate action projects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, while maintaining access to natural gas for residents and businesses. The MOU supports the City of Vancouver in pursuing its commitment to improving air quality and reducing GHG emissions in the region by 80 per cent below 2007 levels before 2050, which aligns with B.C. and Canada’s energy and climate goals. Through this MOU, the City of Vancouver and FortisBC believe they can collectively achieve greater progress towards climate action initiatives by working together.

“At FortisBC, we put our customers first, and we are pleased to continue providing them with affordable, natural gas in the City of Vancouver,” said Roger Dall’Antonia, executive vice president customer service and technology, FortisBC. “We understand that Vancouver residents want to shrink their environmental footprints, without impacting affordability. That’s why we’re working together to seek out new opportunities for Vancouverites to save energy, and reduce their costs.”

“Vancouver has a plan to cut carbon emissions by at least 80 per cent before 2050 by improving energy efficiency and boosting clean renewable energy supply,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “By collaborating on cleaner air, cutting greenhouse gases and increasing renewable natural gas supply, the City and FortisBC are helping the environment, economy, and people’s pocketbooks.” 

The MOU, highlights a range of activities over the next five years designed to reduce GHG emissions, including:

  • Boosting Renewable Natural Gas supply and use in Vancouver
  • Improving air quality and reducing GHGs in transportation
  • Developing a deep energy retrofit pilot project for a commercial building
  • Increasing investment in Low Carbon Energy Systems
  • Increasing access to energy efficiency and conservation rebates for new buildings
  • Improving safety and efficiency of gas furnace retrofit installations

To support the increased investment in energy-efficient buildings and Low Carbon Energy Systems, the City of Vancouver will be making several changes to its Green Building policies. This will include alignment with the B.C. Energy Step Code, which is a new province-wide standard for energy efficient buildings. This enables FortisBC to provide incentives to make new buildings more energy efficient in the City. In addition, the changes will create opportunities for more projects like FortisBC’s Marine Gateway low carbon energy system, which uses waste heat recovery to heat homes and hot water in an efficient, low carbon manner.

Together, FortisBC and the City of Vancouver are working to increase the use and supply of Renewable Natural Gas. FortisBC is an industry leader in renewable energy innovation through programs such as the Renewable Natural Gas program. The first of its kind in North America, the program takes organic waste from landfills and farms, extracts the methane, purifies it, then pipes it back into the natural gas system.

The City of Vancouver and FortisBC will also explore opportunities to reduce emissions and improve air quality by using natural gas as a transportation fuel source. Close to half of Metro Vancouver’s GHG emissions come from transportation, with a significant portion coming from heavy-duty vehicles. Using natural gas as a transportation fuel has proven to be a cost-effective option that reduces GHG emissions, and virtually eliminates particulates. With vehicles fuelled by Renewable Natural Gas, GHG emissions are eradicated altogether.

This memorandum marks a starting point for FortisBC and the City to work collaboratively on energy initiatives.​

Backgrounder

Memorandum of Understanding – City of Vancouver and FortisBC

Agreement Background

The City of Vancouver is taking climate action by aiming to improve air quality, enhance economic resilience and reduce GHG emissions to at least 80 per cent below 2007 levels before 2050 as part of a Renewable City Strategy.

FortisBC serves a growing number of natural gas and electricity customers in B.C., and is investing in energy efficiency, energy conservation, emissions reductions, and the development of a renewable energy supply.

Through this agreement, the City of Vancouver and FortisBC are committing to collaborate on solutions to climate change, which include reducing emissions, and increasing investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, while maintaining access to natural gas.

Energy Efficiency

  • To encourage investment in energy-efficient buildings, the City of Vancouver will amend its building energy policies and bylaws to add a compliance pathway in alignment with the B.C. Energy Step Code that achieves equivalent emissions outcomes.
  • This agreement also makes it easier for FortisBC to deliver rebates to customers to help customers use natural gas more efficiently by aligning its initiatives with the B.C. Energy Step Code, such as incentives to upgrade old, inefficient furnaces.
  • The City of Vancouver and FortisBC are teaming up to develop a pilot project to demonstrate a deep energy retrofit of a commercial building. The goal is to achieve energy savings, reduce emissions and explore how the project could be replicated in the future. Other partners would be sought to help fund and deliver the project.

Low Carbon Energy Systems and Transportation

  • The City of Vancouver will create a Low Carbon Energy Systems Policy supporting private investment in highly efficient and low carbon building energy systems. FortisBC will pursue additional investments in these systems in Vancouver, like its investment in the Marine Gateway low carbon energy system, and continue to work with the City to identify and reduce barriers to the development of low carbon energy systems.
  • Transportation accounts for almost half of GHG emissions in Metro Vancouver. FortisBC and the City of Vancouver will work together to promote reducing emissions and improving air quality with low carbon vehicles and infrastructure, potentially including increased access to the City of Vancouver’s compressed natural gas station, and opportunities to use natural gas to fuel medium- and heavy-duty transportation, rail, and marine applications.

Renewable Energy

  • FortisBC and the City of Vancouver are working to develop a supply of Renewable Natural Gas at the Vancouver Landfill in Delta.
  • The parties are also exploring opportunities to increase the use of Renewable Natural Gas in City of Vancouver buildings, transportation fleets, and the City of Vancouver Neighbourhood Energy Utility. They will also work collaboratively to identify other Renewable Natural Gas supply and usage projects in Vancouver and throughout the region.

Commitments in the MOU may be subject to City of Vancouver or British Columbia Utilities Commission approval as appropriate.

​MEDIA CONTACT:
Grace Pickell
Communications Manager
FortisBC
Phone: 604-328-2544
Email: Grace.Pickell@fortisbc.com
fortisbc.com
@fortisBC
24-hour media line: 1-855-322-6397
MEDIA CONTACT:
City of Vancouver Corporate Communications
604-871-6336
media@vancouver.ca